Linux & Toyota Communities

A recent article in the Harvard Business School Review titled How Toyota and Linux keep collaboration simple draws parallels between collaboration in the two groups. The authors cover three broad areas in their discussion:

1.A common work discipline – How and why do individuals work together? Essentially, they speak about how the Linux and Toyota communities create a “shared understanding” of their domains which in turn is the crucial to building the practice.

2.Widespread, granular communication – The key idea here is “information about problems and solutions is shared widely, frequently, and in small increments” in both the Linux and Toyota Communities. The autors speak about how the widespread collabortion in the Linux Community helps in fixing bugs and keeping the code clean. They also speak about the Toyota Community “Doing their why-why’s” whereby “Toyota engineers are famously drilled to “ask why five times” to follow a chain of causes and effects back to a problem’s root. ” This in turn the authors conclude, improves collaboration across domains.

3.Leaders as connectors – Reflects the fact that the community leaders of these successful communities good at connecting people and setting the direction. They are themselves well connected.

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